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Crackdown on the ‘bank of popes’ – CSMonitor.com

Crackdown on the ‘bank of popes’
Pope Francis has moved quickly to reform the scandal-ridden Vatican bank. The Swiss Guard and ATMs that give instructions in Latin, however, will remain unchanged.

By Nick Squires, Correspondent / October 11, 2013

1011 vatican pope francis bank full 300

1011 vatican pope francis bank full 300


Pope Francis blesses the faithful during the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Gregorio Borgia/AP

It is a bank like no other.

Its entrance is watched over by pantaloon-wearing soldiers from the Swiss Guard, its cash-dispensing machines give instructions in Latin, and its headquarters are in a 15th-century tower that was once used as a papal prison.

But seven months into the papacy of Pope Francis, it is clear that the imposing stone walls of the Tower of Pope Nicholas V are no match for the South American pontiff’s determination to clear up the Vatican bank’s finances after years of scandal and allegations of impropriety.

The pope, who has criticized the iniquities of the international banking system since he was selected in March, has embarked on a campaign to dramatically improve the transparency and accountability of an institution that Forbes last year called “The Most Secret Bank in the World.” The bank manages funds and accounts held by the Holy See, as well as Catholic charities and orders around the world, and individual cardinals, priests, and nuns.

The latest initiative came this week, when theVatican passed a new law designed to improve financial transparency, enhance cooperation with other countries and law enforcement agencies, and prevent money laundering and tax evasion.

Despite being the bank of popes, the Institute for Works of Religion, as the bank is officially called, has been accused in the past of permitting suspect financial transactions by some of its account holders, particularly foreign embassies in Rome that are accredited to the Holy See.

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Take our quiz!
The new law was approved by Pope Francis, who earlier this year appointed a special committee to oversee the reform of the bank.

Since then, the pace of change has been fast, at least by the standards of the Vatican, where change is normally measured in decades, if not centuries.

Earlier this month the bank published its accounts for the first time in its 125-year history, revealing that its earnings for 2012 were 86.6 million euros – more than four times higher than in 2011.

The massive increase in earnings was largely due to a sharp rise in the value of Italian government debt held by the Holy See institution – a result of confidence-boosting measures taken by the European Central Bank and the appointment in November 2011 of Mario Monti as prime minister of Italy.

The 100-page report showed that the bank owns a wide range of assets, including more than 41 million euros worth of gold, precious coins, and medals.

Deposits and portraits of the Virgin Mary

If the hulking exterior of the institution sets it apart from the Main Street banks familiar to most people, then so too does its interior.

In a large circular room ringed by cashiers’ desks, priests wait patiently alongside nuns to withdraw money or check the balance of their accounts.

In the bank’s offices and corridors, the normal range of potted plants and photocopiers is mixed with bronze busts of popes, portraits of Francis, and statuettes of the Virgin Mary.

Tucked away on an upper floor, a team of forensic accounting experts from Promontory Financial Group, a US-based regulatory compliance consulting firm, is systematically screening the 19,000 accounts held by the bank.

With 7,000 accounts now checked, around 900 individuals and institutions have been told to close their accounts and move their money elsewhere after investigators ruled that they did not conform to the new, more stringent rules on depositors. They were not necessarily guilty of money laundering, fraud, or other financial crimes, says Max Hohenberg, the bank’s spokesman.

“They may have committed zero legal wrongdoing but for statutory reasons have been excluded,” Mr. Hohenberg says.

The auditing operation is being overseen by the bank’s newly-appointed president, Ernst von Freyberg, a German lawyer with an aristocratic pedigree.

He displays the sort of direct, no-nonsense approach favored by his boss, Pope Francis. When it became clear that the office allocated to the Promontory experts was not big enough, he gave up his own.

Mr. Von Freyberg took up his post in February after his predecessor, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was abruptly dismissed last year after being accused of neglecting basic management responsibilities at the bank, which holds more than 7 billion euros in assets.

Von Freyberg says he and his team have made “enormous progress” but that there remains work to be done in making the bank more transparent.

“We need to become compliant with international financial laws, including on money laundering. The Pope strongly endorses a Vatican bank that serves the Church and no one else,” he says.

‘God’s banker’

The bank has had a tarnished image ever since Roberto Calvi, dubbed “God’s banker,” was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982.

Nobody has ever been found guilty of his murder, but there has been intense speculation that he had lost money entrusted to him by the Italian Mafia and that he paid with his life.

Mr. Calvi was the chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, an Italian bank that collapsed with massive losses. The Vatican was its main shareholder.

It was the darkest chapter of the bank’s history but by no means its only scandal.

Earlier this year the director general and his deputy were placed under investigation for money laundering and forced to resign.

It has come under intense scrutiny by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money-laundering committee, which said last year that while the Holy See had taken steps to improve standards, more needed to be done. Moneyval is due to conduct a new assessment later this year.

Just as the reform efforts were getting under way this summer, another scandal emerged.

A senior prelate working as an accountant in a related Vatican finance department was arrested in June and accused of trying to smuggle 20 million euros in cash from Switzerland to Italy aboard a private plane.

Nunzio Scarano, who was nicknamed by his peers “Monsignor 500” for his habit of showing off a wallet full of 500 euro notes, denies the charges but will face trial in December.

In an interview on Thursday, he said he feared that he would be poisoned for his cooperation with Italian investigators.

”I have told of episodes that could put me in danger. I am trying to be stronger than the fear and nightmares that torment me, but despite my prayers, I am certain that I will die by poisoning,” Mr. Scarano, who worked at the Holy See’s asset-management agency, told Libero, a daily newspaper.

He claimed that he had been made a “scapegoat” for powerful figures within the Vatican “against whom the pope, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is already taking wise decisions.” Those decisions will determine whether the scandal-ridden bank can clean up its act once and for all, as Pope Francis seeks to haul it into the 21st century.

http://m.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/1011/Crackdown-on-the-bank-of-popes?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily&utm_campaign=20131011_Newsletter%3ADaily_Sailthru

[Nogallery]


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Synchronic Portals for Gaia Upgrades are Aligned to Permit Full Restoration of Gaia Hue-manity Consciousness

GaiaPortal

gaia_energy1Synchronic Portals for Gaia upgrades are aligned to permit full restoration of Gaia Hue-manity consciousness.

Partial consciousness restoration has previously occurred in step increments with limited effect, but current alignment permits full upward/forward progress for Hue-manity.

Signal for full up-step occurs within each Hue-Being and occurs strictly in the now moment for each.

Failure of all prior timeline and energy grid structures is now in clear view for all of Hue-manity and hu-manity.

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The Oracle Report Friday, October 11, 2013

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First Quarter Moon Phase: step out, take action
Moon: Capricorn

Today’s energy is a favorite of Illuminati wizards and, over eons of time, this energy has been heavily imprinted with fear. So we are on notice to stay emotionally-centered and vigilent.

However, Venus moves to one of ourfavorite energies, 5 Sagittarius: “an old owl up in a tree.” This speaks to the need to seek wisdom, either from someone else or within ourselves (or both). Consider consulting with someone if there is something weighing on your mind. A wise owl sees what others do not. It sees when something is coming up from behind it because it can turn its head so far around. We do the same when we turn our minds around. You may see a long-standing situation from a different point of view today. The purpose of being like an old owl up in a tree is to stay centered, out of the fray, and witnessing what is going on.

It is nice to be able to report that the energy today is excellent for interpersonal communications. Joy! Lines of communication are much improved, so if you have failed to communicate effectively or have been waiting for the right time to say something (or pursue some line), this energy works in favor. The Sun is interpersonally communicating, too, by sending strong radio bursts our way.

Alignment – anything in a line – is a key theme today. Since we move to the First Quarter Moon phase today (with the directive to step out and take action), lining up a terjectory in your mind (regarding whatever wish or intention you are working on) would be right “in line” now. Take note of anything that prompts you to feel like you are walking a line, drawing a line, lining up, or reading between the lines. What action needs to be taken with this?

To all Cancers, Capricorns, and Black Moons in Cancer or Capricorn: hang in there. The Moon will leave Capricorn at 2:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm UT on Saturday. Until then, surrender. Surrender to what the mother energy of the Black Moon in Cancer is trying to illuminate. Allow her to rebirth you.

http://www.oraclereport.com/


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The manuscript of survival – part 363

Thank you Aisha!

aisha north

The symbols of success can be many, but for now, let us just focus on a few that will appear for many of you. You have and will start to connect in a way that will enable to you start to see things, but when we refer to this, we do not necessarily refer to tangible things that you can simultaneously touch with your bare hands. We refer to symbols and shapes that may not contain any information that you will understand from a human point of view, but symbols that in themselves contain essential information that will leave their imprint on you in a way that will be of great help. Of course, this whole message, in fact, any message that you may receive in this kind of manner also conveys much of its information this way.

For what you SEE is not always ALL you get. You will…

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The Limp Dick ‘Suddenly’ Wants To Rise To Compromise-Will The Koch Brothers Toss Him Off A Conservative Cliff?

Thank you for posting this. All the added links are very helpful. I have been dismayed lately at the insane divisions between otherwise beautiful people whose blogs and comments I read. I hope that the more dirty tricksters like the koch brothers, rupert Murdoch, sheldan adelson et al are outed by articles like this, the more regular people will see how they are being manipulated to fight their neighbors and families when in reality the majority of things are the people vs they the 1% not dems vs reps.
Sure we have differences as far as methods but we all want everyone in America to live in peace and prosperity with good education, safe infrastructure and environment and healthy people and communities.
The 1% do not want those things-not with Any methods. I say we kick them to the curb *first* and then iron out a middle path fir our country between big/small government and individualism vs collectivism. I have always believed those things to be resolvable in mutually beneficial ways. But now I’ve seen several articles about our government breaking down permanently because people refuse to work together or compromise.

GetRealWithDarylandDeVon@.Wordpress.Com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGuTHsrC1k  (Just Look at this disgustingly ignorant FILTH. )

The Koch Brothers have placed their call to Orangeman, and now he suddenly wants to meet the president halfway. I knew the minute these evil bastards denied any culpability for creating this Tea Party based shutdown insanity-there would be sudden inspiration for the perpetually limp Boehner to rise in the name of compromise.flyinyoureyeKochWalkerposter

Screw political posturing by the right, and the left=It’s about big business and nothing else! Cash rules EVERYTHING around the Koch Brothers because they won’t even let their own hellish creation, AKA the Tea Party, threaten their monetary intentions. They lost millions trying to make Barack Obama a one-term president. One can only imagine the damaged state of their future financial portfolio if President Obama continues to hold steady until next weeks default deadline.

President Obama already called their bluff on the shutdown-I’m sure they thought he would fold…

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Bill Moyers: Wendell Berry on His Hopes for Humanity

Thank you Laura for posting this and Tazjima for reblogging. Feeling a bit knocked down today I have been reading friends blogs in search of inspiration. I feel so blessed and grateful to have online friends who are so deeply rooted in the mythic and beautiful, and who so frequently do share inspiring thoughts and things. Thank you and bless you both!

Laura Bruno's Blog

Thanks to my friend, Kimber, for sending me the link to this heartwarming, gentle, yet powerful interview with visionary author, environmentalist and farmer, Wendell Berry.

I have long loved Bill Moyers and continue to feel huge gratitude for finding his interview series with Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth.” That series set the tone for the early months of my brain injury, encouraging me to place my mystical, post-TBI experiences into larger spiritual context. This interview with Wendell Berry similarly shares the wisdom of a near-octogenarian. The combination of his exquisite poetry and down-to-earth practicality particularly appeals to the English Major Faery Farmer in me. 😉

“Berry, described by environmental activist Bill McKibben as ‘a prophet of responsibility,’ lives and works on the Kentucky farm where his family has tilled the soil for 200 years. He’s a man of action as well as words. In 2011, he joined a four-day…

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